exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

one in ten

by Jen at 1:10 pm on 6.03.2009 | 2 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

sunday, march 8th is international women’s day – since 1911, this day has been recognised as a day to promote the social, political and economic equality of women.

today, amnesty international uk is using international women’s day to draw attention to their 1:10 campaign, highlighting the unconscionable statistic that one in ten women in the uk are the victims of rape or gender-related violence every year (domestic violence/female genital mutilation/forced marriages/”honour” violence/sexual abuse/sex trafficking).

i’ve written many times here about how the uk law enforcement and judicial systems are failing rape victims in horrifying fashion, and one in four local authorities offers no services for violence against women.

if you live in the uk, go to the map of gaps to petition your mp for services and funding to combat violence against women.  if you live elsewhere, take action on amnesty’s global campaign to combat rape against women in conflict zones – “rape is cheaper than bullets”.

international women’s day has been much needed for nearly a hundred years now – how many more?


until the violence stops

by Jen at 7:14 pm on 14.02.2009Comments Off
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle


valentine’s day doesn’t particularly mean much to me and j.  we’ve never really done very much, mostly because our anniversary is in a week, and it seems silly to celebrate twice.

what valentine’s day *does* mean to me, however, is another yearly opportunity to take part in vday – a global movement to end violence against women and girls.

i’ve been terribly lucky – no man has ever tried to hurt or abuse me.  unfortunately, several friends and millions of women  cannot say the same – in the u.s. alone, one in four women have been raped or assaulted by their dates or partners.

that’s one in four daughters/sisters/mothers.  raped or assaulted by people they knew.  think about the women in your immediate family.  chances are that one in four of them will be a victim at some point.  in a country which considers itself civilised, that figure is sickening.  and in other parts of the world, women are routinely subject to rape, genital mutilation and sexual slavery.

sexual and domestic violence continues to be perpetrated against women everywhere, and until it stops for all, none of us are truly free from that threat.

so if there’s a woman in your life that you love and respect – mother, daughter, sister, wife, lover – please consider taking part or contributing in anyway you can.  this valentine’s day, do something to help protect and respect women everywhere.

(and if you’re in the london area, consider taking part in the march to end violence against women, being held on 7th march.)

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blogging for choice 2009

by Jen at 7:49 pm on 22.01.2009 | 2 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

it’s “blog for choice day”, the 36th anniversary of the roe v. wade decision.

this year’s question:

What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress ?

the overturn of president bush’s global gag rule, which denied funding to any organisation which offers abortion, abortion counselling, or which tries to make or keep abortion legal in its own country.

because it’s one thing to try to impose one’s morality on a nation which has democracy and a wealth of resources – it’s another thing entirely to impose one’s morality on those who live in countries which are oppressive and poor.   countries where the maternal mortality rate is high, and infant survival low.  where contraceptives are needed to prevent the wildfire spread of hiv.  the lives of those women are at our mercy, and punishing them for unintentionally getting pregnant by forcing them to have children they may be unable to bear (physically, emotionally, or financially), is beyond the scope of any human’s right.


the girl effect

by Jen at 11:46 am on 15.10.2008 | 1 Comment
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

in reading charlotte’s blog post today, i discovered that today is blog action day.

charlotte was the very first person to sponsor me for my recent half marathon on behalf of unicef’s born free campaign, so i’d like to take the opportunity to pay it forward. she’s posted about the links between poverty, aids and women in her native south africa, and has suggested “the girl effect” as an organisation which can help effect change.

and so i’m calling attention to it here as well. “the girl effect” is a foundation which seeks to effect large scale change through raising the standard of living of the 600 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world.

a few facts about the girl effect:

• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

yet for every developmental dollar spent, girls receive less than one half of one cent.

“if the goal is health, wealth, and stability for all, a girl is the best investment.”

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shout out

by Jen at 7:56 pm on 26.09.2008Comments Off
filed under: family and friends, like a fish needs a bicycle

i’m so proud of my friend (and honorary third sister) diana, who was just listed in san diego magazine as one of their “women who move the city”.

she’s one of the strongest, smartest and most socially conscious women i’ve ever had the good fortune to know, and she just makes the world a better place to be. basically, she just kicks ass.

and *she* has more foreign policy experience than sarah palin )

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on palin and pandering

by Jen at 10:43 am on 7.09.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle, rant and rage

you know, although i am a self-described bleeding heart liberal, i’m *not* anti-republican. i have several intelligent friends who are republicans, and (even though they are wrong ) ), i can respect that they honestly believe that conservative policies are the best way to run a country.

however, i’m just going to go ahead and say it: i cannot respect a woman who calls herself a feminist and votes for any ticket with john mccain or sarah palin on it. for me, “feminist” isn’t a label you slap on yourself – feminism is living and acting in a way that advances the goal of equality for all women. you don’t have to call yourself a feminist to be one, and calling yourself a feminist doesn’t automatically make you one.

i find it incredibly insulting, therefore, that mccain seems to think that by sticking a woman of sarah palin’s calibre on his ticket, he can attract women voters who have felt disenfranchised by the ritual slaughter of hillary clinton.

mccain who, on the ledbetter fair pay act, (a bill restoring the right to sue when discriminated against on the basis of pay for doing the same job), said:

“They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,” McCain said. “And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.


mccain who has maintained a 0% rating on a woman’s right to choose since 2001, explicitly advocating for roe v. wade to be overturned, opposing funding to prevent teen pregnancies, and voting against even requiring health insurance plans to cover basic birth control.

mccain, who just selected sarah palin as his running mate.

clearly sarah palin is a bright, ambitious woman. but the idea that she would somehow appeal to hillary voters is ludicrous beyond belief.

sarah palin who is against abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

sarah palin who supported pat buchanan for president in 2000. (you know, the guy who said aids was a punishment for gays, and believes feminism is contributing to the decline of western civilisation.)

sarah palin who likes the story about women being created from a man’s rib so much, that she believes it should be taught in schools.

sarah palin, a woman who has the gall to call herself a “feminist”. i’ll say it once again: a feminist is not something you call yourself, feminism is something you *do*. being an elected official does not automatically mean you advance the cause of women.

gloria steinem gets it spot on:

Here’s the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing — the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party — are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women — and to many men too — who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the “white-male-only” sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won’t work. This isn’t the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.”

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.

emphasis mine

and that, in a nutshell is what it boils down to. you cannot support women’s rights and vote for a platform which seeks to undermine them. you cannot vote for a woman candidate who does not believe in the power of women. you cannot believe in the inherent equality of women and elect a president who sees you as a second class citizen, and thinks he can appease you with someone like sarah palin.


there’s a few things that are gonna have to change

by Jen at 9:39 pm on 5.09.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

the other day forbes came out with its list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. on a list of 100 women, exactly *five* were from the uk…and one of those is the bloody queen.

for the second most powerful nation in the world, that’s pretty pathetic… but explains the complete lack of surprise when it was reported yesterday that not only are women not cracking the glass ceiling in britain – they’re actively losing ground. i’ve written here a million times before how i find subtle (and not so subtle) sexism much more institutionalised here, but it’s just so disheartening to see the knock-on effects in black and white.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that in 12 of 25 job categories it studied, there were fewer women holding top posts.

According to the report, there are now fewer women MPs, cabinet members, national newspaper editors, senior police officers and judges, NHS executives, trade union leaders and heads of professional bodies, compared with 2007.

The number of female media bosses, MEPs, directors of major museums and galleries, chairs of national arts companies and holders of senior ranks in the Armed Forces has remained the same.

Women’s representation had increased in the House of Lords and among company directors, council leaders, university vice-chancellors and top civil service managers.

However, in six of these categories the increase was less than 1%.

i think probably the only way it could get more depressing, would be to see sarah fucking palin at the top of the forbes list.

the strokes – modern girls and old fashioned men

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remind me what century we live in again?

by Jen at 8:19 pm on 29.07.2008Comments Off
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle


woman = coffee table = utilitarian sex object. it would be outrageous if it wasn’t so desperately sad.

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abortion via the internets

by Jen at 6:44 pm on 21.07.2008Comments Off
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle, rant and rage

women in countries where abortion is restricted are getting abortion meds from the web.

which just goes to show that when desperate women are denied accessible, medically supervised, safe abortions, they will do whatever it takes – no matter how frightening, isolated, or potentially risky carrying out abortions on their own may be.

i wonder if they ship to south dakota.

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turn up the music and pray that she makes it through

by Jen at 6:13 pm on 18.06.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle, rant and rage

i really don’t understand this kind of reporting:

first female british soldier killed in afghanistan

surely a woman’s death is no more or less tragic than the 105 deaths of the british men who’ve been killed.

and if a woman’s death is seen to be somehow more inhumane… if it makes us stop and think about the senseless loss of another life… then we should ask ourselves what the hell we’re actually fighting for. how did we get to this place?

mother, daughter, father or son – all loss of life in war is equally senseless. there is no war without death, and every single soldier or civilian killed is an scathing indictment of our colossal failure to achieve peace.

josh ritter – girl in the war

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i know you have a lot of strength left

by Jen at 5:32 pm on 4.06.2008 | 12 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

such a bittersweet feeling. part of me is thrilled the democratic nomination process is over, and my candidate of choice won.

the other part of me is genuinely sad that there won’t be a female president this time around. i’ve often said i thought there would be a black president before there was a female president… but boy, would i have loved to be proven wrong.

there’s a lot of analysis about what happened, and i tend to agree with those that say she had an opportunity to be a fresh-faced historic first… and she blew it because she insisted on painting herself as the experienced, hardened old guard instead. when stacked up against a campaign emphasising hope and idealism, anything else can only look depressing and cynical.

but what i don’t understand is this massive animosity towards her. or the idea that her female supporters won’t vote for obama unless she’s his vice presidential nominee. it implies a level of crab-in-the-pot syndrome and blind, bitter loyalty that’s downright nasty. it’s been said there are some Hillary supporters who would vote for *any* woman. and sure, there are some women who would vote for Hillary as a preferred qualified candidate, all other things being equal, because she’s a woman. that’s called affirmative action. but to suggest that people would vote for her without any regard for her ability to *do the job* is just insulting to women voters. and the idea that those same supporters are so rabidly hysterical that they would cut off their nose to spite their face by voting against obama, is just ludicrous. when it comes down to it, being a sore loser doesn’t help anyone’s cause – and definitely not the cause of women’s rights. you only have to have a quick look at mccain’s voting record to realise that.

has she been strategising and scheming and spinning? of course. but she’s behaved no worse than hundreds of other *male* candidates who came before her – and probably better than many. yet when people discuss her candidacy, they do so with a kind of venom i’ve never heard before.

the invisible undercurrent to this entire primary season has been a sotto voce bitch . i think our national reaction to her campaign says much more about us, than it does about Hillary Clinton as a person and a woman politician. and frankly, it’s really disgusted me. you don’t have to be a Hillary supporter to feel outraged at the treatment she’s received. you don’t have to be a woman to be outraged at the treatment she’s received.

win or lose, she deserved so much better. she may not have broken through that glass ceiling completely, but she managed to put a big ol’ crack in it.

so here’s to you, Hillary. i may not have always agreed with your politics, but i damn sure admired you as a fearless groundbreaker, a fierce competitor who could stand toe-to-toe with any of the “old boys club”… and as a woman i would have been proud to call my commander-in-chief.

because of you, a few more little girls today believe they can grow up to be some of the most powerful and important leaders of the world.

and i have no doubt that one of them will most definitely be a future president of the united states of america.

kate bush – this woman’s work

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another fine day, another fine example of gross misogyny in your elected officials

by Jen at 1:48 pm on 3.04.2008 | 4 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle, rant and rage

i fear for little girls growing up in a world where someone like this is elected to public office. it makes me deeply, deeply sad that there are sick people like this in positions of power.

A senior BNP leader with a strong chance of winning a seat in the London Assembly next month has written that rape is a “myth” and that “some women are like gongs – they need to be struck regularly.”

The Standard can reveal that Nick Eriksen, the BNP’s London organiser and the second-highest candidate on its list for the Assembly, is the author of “Sir John Bull,” a notorious far-Right blog which has regularly advocated hatred and abuse against women. The disclosure will be a serious blow to the BNP’s hopes of London electoral success.

On 24 August 2005, Mr Eriksen wrote: “I’ve never understood why so many men have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the feminazi myth machine into believing that rape is such a serious crime … Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal.

To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that forcefeeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.

“The demonisation of rape is all part of the feminazi desire to obtain power and mastery over men. Men who go along with the rape myth are either morons or traitors.”

On 5 November 2005, in an item entitled “Give her a slap!,” Mr Eriksen approvingly quoted Noel Coward as saying: “Some women are like gongs – they need to be struck regularly.” On 8 November, he claimed that “the vast majority of domestic [assaults] are initiated by the woman.” Mr Eriksen also wrote on 24 November 2005 that mothers “should never go out to work” and described career women as “unnatural and vile… it is a strange kind of woman who would want to invest [her] energies into her job rather than into a man.”

Eleven of the 25 Assembly members are elected on a London-wide basis using a form of proportional representation. The BNP is likely to win at least one of these seats, for which it needs around five per cent of the vote, and has strong hopes of winning a second, for which it needs around seven to eight per cent. If the BNP does win two seats, one of them will go to Mr Eriksen and one to London party leader Richard Barnbrook.

Contacted by the Standard last night, Mr Eriksen admitted the blog postings were written by him, but said they were “deliberately provocative” in order to stimulate debate.

“I was trying to make the point that there are two kinds of rape,” he said. “There is stranger rape and there is so-called rape by somebody the woman knows. I was raising an important issue in a provocative way to allow people to make up their own minds.”

Mr Eriksen insisted that he “did not condone violence in any way,” but was “trying to highlight the fact that violence against men is unacceptable.” He said: “It’s typical of the media to distort what the BNP say.”

Mr Eriksen, a former Tory councillor and ex-civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who lives in Richmond, says he will not resign. If he and Mr Barnbrook are elected, BNP leader Nick Griffin says the party will be invited on the BBC’s Question Time.

i’ve taken the liberty of linking the appropriate blogposts, for your edification.

luckily he hasn’t had to resign. he’s been sacked.


you and i will be undefeated by agreeing to disagree

by Jen at 7:31 pm on 18.03.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle, mutterings and musings

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately about supporting Obama over Hillary in the presidential campaign. In fact, in many ways, i feel like a bit of a traitor.

I mean, I know why I like Obama better (I have this silly thing about voting for someone I can actually believe in, and for me Hillary’s vote for the war was indefensible). I’ve written here before about the thought process which ultimately decided who got my vote.

But I cannot ignore this feeling that I’m somehow letting down the side. Undermining the all-important work and sacrific of generations of feminists before me which *got us* to this pivotal and incredibly symbollic point. And the unvoiced fears of what happens if Hillary doesn’t win – the fear that her loss will be used to corroborate every naysayers argument that ever was.

The country just wasn’t ready for it. Back to the drawing board. Try again in another 50 years.

If Hillary doesn’t win, when will we next have a *real* contender for first woman President of the US? Hillary has become (you should pardon the tongue-in-cheek expression) our “great white hope”.

I heard a podcast the other day which postulated that younger women who are supporting Obama are only doing so because they want so desperately to believe we live in a gender-neutral la-la-land, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Now I’m certainly not naive enough to believe that the political world I live in is genderless. But the inescapable fact remains: I don’t want to vote based on gender identity. As someone else I know put it, “I resent having to stop every time I’m annoyed with [Hillary] to examine my feelings and make certain I’m not buying in to some repressed, societal sexism.”

And more to the point, I don’t want to vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, for the same reason I don’t want people to vote *against* Hillary because she’s a woman. If I truly believe her gender shouldn’t be a factor for those who would vote against a woman for President, then I have to believe it shouldn’t be a factor for me. In other words, if I vote based on gender, I am not only acknowledging that gender bias exists (because of course it does), but also validating it by giving it more merit than other, much more important factors.

That’s not naivete. I simply don’t think you get where you want to go by pointing yourself in the wrong direction.

And I’d like to believe that the ultimate goal of feminism is about women having all choices available to them in equal measure.

I’m grateful for the choice to have a female candidate, and I will continue to fight for the right to ensure that choice continues.

But given the choice? I choose Obama.

wilco – side with the seeds

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blogging for choice 2008

by Jen at 3:13 pm on 22.01.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

today is the 35th anniversary of roe v. wade, the landmark u.s. supreme court decision which gave women the right to legally own their bodies and reproductive choices.

this year’s blogging for choice topic is: why do you vote pro-choice?

i vote pro-choice because as a 35 year old, i’ve never known a life *without* full reproductive choice. it has always in my lifetime been my body, my choice.

so when i vote pro-choice, i’m not voting for a candidate who supports maintaining a constitutionally protected law…

i’m voting to maintain control over my body. for me, it really is that basic, that simple.

long live roe v. wade.



it takes courage to enjoy it

by Jen at 4:10 pm on 9.01.2008 | 6 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

although our television is usually on, i don’t actually watch it very often. even less often do i make the time to sit down and watch a specific programme… but for the past season i’ve found myself making a point of making time to watch “how to look good naked”.

at first blush, it looks like a standard makeover show – women unhappy with their looks getting professional advice and new haircuts. but what makes this programme unique and worthwhile, (rather than just another hour long advert for increasing the profits of the beauty industry at the expense of women’s self-esteem), is that the entire message throughout the show is *not* about changing how you look, but about changing how you feel.

yes, you read that right. there are no endorsements for plastic surgery, no discussions about dieting, not even a suggestion for healthy exercise. the women learn to feel good about themselves, just as they are – lumps, bumps, and all. throughout the programme, women of all sizes parade around in nothing more than their cotton underwear, and the climax of the show consists of a segment where the woman takes part in a naked photo shoot.

if that idea doesn’t sound like the standard recipe for successful television, you’d usually be right. in a day and age where reality makeover shows find success by focusing almost exclusively on making people look younger, thinner, and artificially enhanced, the idea that you can be beautiful without changing a single thing – that in fact you already *are* beautiful and just don’t know it yet – is so singular as to be revolutionary.

part of the reason i love the show, is that it makes me feel happier and more confident in my *own* body – and i would hazard to guess that its popularity is based in working exactly the same magic for others. there’s always a huge smile on my face at the end of the show when the woman (who sometimes hasn’t even let her own husband see her naked) is strutting her stuff in her altogether in front of a giant crowd of people – there is something so uplifting about seeing a woman full of spirit and self-assurance, it *is* beautiful. and granted, there is still some emphasis on makeup and “foundation garments” as part of a way to enhance one’s overall appearance, (so it’s not entirely free from the conventional standards of beauty) but the overall motif basically boils down to this: looking sexy comes from feeling sexy, and feeling sexy comes from loving your body just as it is.

and while it is depressing to realise just how many of the shows out there make money by making women feel bad about themselves based solely on their appearance, it is unbelievably exciting to see a show that radically departs from that formula by making women feel good about who they are inside, irrespective of body size or shape. to me, that’s television worth watching.

i’ve recently discovered that there’s a new spinoff version of “how to look good naked” for the states. let’s hope it’s the start of a trend.

bjork – big time sensuality

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but she breaks just like a little girl

by Jen at 7:05 pm on 26.11.2007 | 1 Comment
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

you know, i attended the “reclaim the night” march the other evening because i find it appalling that in a western, democratic country with one of the most developed judiciaries in the world, only one in twenty rapists are ever convicted.

and then i read about the 19 year old saudi girl who was gang-raped and will be punished by 200 lashes and six months in prison.

i suppose i should reflect, once again, on how lucky i am. but i’m tired of always trying to find some measure of solace in comparing my fortune with women elsewhere. i’m tired of trying to assuage the guilt of privilege by telling myself i’m standing up for them as well. i’m tired of the complete and utter lack of surprise when i read about women being punished, tortured and killed for the crime of being born the wrong sex in the wrong place at the wrong time.

i’m tired of being angry and i’m tired of being sad, and i’m tired of feeling compelled to write the same damn shit over and over again and i’m tired of feeling so completely helpless to change a fucking thing. tiring to think of throwing grains of sand into the winds of history and religion and soul-crushing hatred.

i wouldn’t want to trade being a woman for anything in the world. but fucking hell – some days it’s so bone-deep, grind-you-down, hollowly, dispiritingly, tiresome, a body could just lay down and cry from weariness.

bob dylan – just like a woman

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the night starts here, forget your fear

by Jen at 1:11 pm on 24.11.2007 | 3 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

i’ve written here a few times about how appalling the rape statistics for britain are. so tonight, i’m doing something i haven’t done in over twelve years, since way back in my uni days: participating in a “take back the night” march.

it’s known as “reclaim the night” in the u.k., and though these marches to end violence against women first became well-known during the late 70s, it is thought that they may have originated as far back as 1877, here in london.

the fact that it is still necessary, more than a hundred years later, to make people aware of the ways in which women are violated, not only by the perpetrators, but also by the justice system meant to protect them, is deeply saddening. and infuriating.

from the organisers:

In Britain, there are an estimated 47,000 rapes every year. And each year, an estimated 300,000 women are sexually assaulted (British Crime Survey 2001).

Yet Britain’s conviction rate is the lowest ever, at just 5.3 per cent.

When Reclaim The Night marches were started in the 1970s, women were appalled that only 1 in 3 rapists were ever convicted; today that figure is 1 in 20.

so i’ll be out there (along with amity), raising our voices in anger, demanding that people take notice.

it can only get better when people are no longer afraid to speak out and make themselves heard.

stars – the night starts here

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yet more on why rape doesn’t matter

by Jen at 7:20 am on 12.11.2007Comments Off
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle, rant and rage

david cameron, leader of the conservative party, will call for tougher rape laws.

i’ve written about the sickening rape statistics in this country here before:

– About 80% of rapes are never reported
– One-third those reported are not recorded by the police
– Only one fifth of those recorded reaches trial
– Only half those tried result in conviction

The bbc is reporting that he will say too many rapists believe “they can get away with it”.

gee, i wonder what would give them that impression?

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ignorance is bliss

by Jen at 1:25 pm on 9.11.2007Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, like a fish needs a bicycle

this is what i get for watching daytime television.

a u.k. ripoff of “the view” where a bunch of women sit around nattering, takes on the weighty question: “should women propose?”

which leads to a discussion about how they *shouldn’t* propose, but should instead manipulate the guy into proposing by thinking it’s his idea.

sometimes i find it hard to believe i live in the 21st century. sigh.

and for the record, i proposed to j first.

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all the things we should have done

by Jen at 5:46 pm on 23.10.2007 | 4 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

while running today i was listening to an interview with an old skool feminist activist, one of the early second wave bra-burning radicals. and boy was she angry – angry at the failure of following generations to build on the momentum of their work, angry at what she views as the luxury of indifference.

i admit to feeling guilty as i listened. i admit to often feeling too complacent. in my own life, i encounter few challenges – i have career mobility, a husband who sees me as his equal, full and free access to reproductive choice. and while i still find myself surprised by many sexist cultural norms over here (prospective employers asking women about their plans for family, topless women in newpapers, patronising attitudes by older generations of men) there are few things to rouse me from my stupor. so much of the feminist agenda is politically polarised in the u.s., that here, where conflict over these issues is far more subdued, it’s easy to slide into daily apathy.

i talk the talk, but don’t often walk the walk. i’ll bitch about my younger counterparts embracing stereotypes tarted up as “choice”, or rail against those women who definitively reject feminism as being unfeminine. i’ll spout off about pejorative terms like “femi-nazi” and “man-hater”. but what do i actually do to change any of it?

i’ve always felt that a significant part of my identity as a woman is bound up in feminism – and yet somehow i’ve become one of those women the interviewee was directing her ire and disappointment at. i’ve never intended or aspired to be a gloria steinem – but it’s definitely time for a wakeup call. just what form that will take remains to be seen.

kate bush – this woman’s work

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because i’m lucky

by Jen at 1:46 pm on 6.05.2007 | 16 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

because i’m lucky enough to live in a country where this doesn’t happen, i have an obligation to fight for those who are not as fortunate – who can be killed for being a woman. because there but for the grace of god, go i.

(full disclosure: i can’t (won’t) watch the video – i know there are horrors carried out against women in this world that are best left to my imagination.)

if you’re lucky enough too, please sign the petition.

read amnesty’s statement on the killing (and subsequent retaliation killings) here.

(with thanks to anglofille)

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